Something lurid is vivid and attention-grabbing in a shocking, graphic, or horrible way. that pulls them in. Your mother might complain that she hates lurid TV shows — ones that are overly sensationalized and meant to shock.

An expression used to avoid hearing or seeing disturbing things is "spare me the lurid details," and people say that so they won't have shocking or ugly images put into their imaginations. The word lurid, which entered English in the 17th century, comes from Latin lūridis, "ghastly, pale yellow," and it can also refer to things that are a ghastly yellow color or to something shining with a strange red glow. All of the synonyms for the adjective lurid describe qualities that can turn a person pale: dreadful, nightmarish, and horrific, among others.

Definitions of lurid
  1. adjective
    glaringly vivid and graphic; marked by sensationalism
    lurid details of the accident”
    synonyms: shocking
    causing intense interest, curiosity, or emotion
  2. adjective
    horrible in fierceness or savagery
    lurid crimes”
    “a lurid life”
    acting with or marked by or resulting from great force or energy or emotional intensity
  3. adjective
    shining with an unnatural red glow as of fire seen through smoke
    “a lurid sunset”
    lurid flames”
    emitting or reflecting light readily or in large amounts
  4. adjective
    ghastly pale
    “moonlight gave the statue a lurid luminence”
    colorless, colourless
    weak in color; not colorful
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week